Born Again Bikers Pay Higher Insurance, As Accident Rates Rise

Born again bikers are paying the price with insurance premiums for newly-qualified older riders more than two-and-a-half times the average, new analysis from award-winning data analytics company Consumer Intelligence shows.

Its data shows over-40s bikers who have been qualified for less than five years can expect to pay an average £423 a year for insurance – two-and-a-half times the average £162 for the 40-60-year-old age group.

They are seen as a bigger risk than newly-qualified drivers aged between 25 and 39 who can expect to pay £361 on average but they are less of a risk than the under-25s who can expect to pay £636 a year.

However, the pricing difference highlights the growing influence of bikers getting back in the saddle when they hit middle age.

NHS Direct data shows older bikers are having an effect on injury figures too – the number of hospital admissions in England for motorcycle accidents involving over-50s men has increased by 77% in the past 10 years.

Data for 2006/07 shows 1,117 over-50s men were admitted to hospitals following motorbike accidents compared to 1,976 in 2016/17.

The good news for born-again bikers is that once they have been qualified for more than five years they will save money on insurance – the average premium drops to £181 for those qualified for between five and 10 years and to £141 once they are qualified for 10 years or more.

Consumer Intelligence’s data shows average premiums across all age groups are currently £257 and have increased 21% since February 2017 when they were £212.

John Blevins, Consumer Intelligence pricing expert said: “Paying a higher insurance premium is unlikely to put older bikers off recapturing their youth by passing their motorbike test and there are savings to be made from switching from a car to a bike.

But insurers inevitably price for risk and the possibility of claims and it is definitely the case that older bikers who have just qualified are seen as risky and need to be careful as the rising hospital admission figures show.”

Consumer Intelligence’s figures show engine size is not a major factor in insurance pricing for the over-40s. Bikes with engines below 100cc pay expect to pay an average £109 a year for insurance rising to £194 for engines above 500cc and £219 for engines above 900cc.

Honda CBR650F 2014 model

Insurance Edge Comment;

The two wheeler market is very diverse, with lots of bikers and scooter owners choosing occasional use, not commuting. In fact many bikers, especially born agains often ONLY ride on sunny Sundays, rather than run the gauntlet of rush hour traffic, which is where most accidents happen. That’s why engine size makes no difference to the overall risk patterns – speed isn’t the crucial factor when it comes to assessing the primary cause of motorcycle accidents – proximity to careless, or uninsured drivers, or a poor reading of road/traffic conditions is perhaps closer to the truth. But more independent research is needed, rather than subscribing to pop culture conclusions that `speed kills.’

The introduction of new tech like on-demand PAYG, app-based cover, AI powered online checking of geo-locations, vehicle tracking and overlaying that data across chosen routes, will allow insurers to accurately assess the true risk of any biker’s lifestyle. Add that data to the experience and overall driving history of the policyholder and you have much more detailed overview of any two-wheeled lifestyle.

A 125cc Vespa scooter rider, travelling to work 330 days a year, in all weathers, attending variable shifts, when the rider is likely to be tired, is a far higher risk than a 40 year old who rides a Honda CBR600RR 20 times a year, and has passed an IAM Advanced Riding course.  The UK insurance industry needs to throw out its old Norwich Union engine capacity ratings book, forget about postcodes, and start crunching data with a finer toothcomb.

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